BIKE TRAILS


Sulphur Springs

- 13 km Loop
- Intermediate to Difficult
- Approx 2 hrs

TRAIL REPORT


MAP





Sulphur Springs

trail image 1 Access: Hwy 66, Station Flats
Parking: Station Flats Day Use area
Trail: 13 km Loop,  Approx 2 hrs, Intermediate to Difficult


Site of the Summer Solstice Mtn Bike Race organized annually by Ridley's Cycle.


This is what Mountain Biking's all about. It's no surprise to me this trail is used as a race course every year, because it's a revealing test of your skills and stamina without needing to dabble in extremes. This is meat and potatoes single track with plenty of thrills to keep you wide-eyed and wanting more. The intermittent splashes of Foothills splendor give it a flavor all it's own, plus you can ride it in either direction and still be equally rewarded for your efforts (although I prefer counter clockwise for optimum payback). There are so many aspects to this trail one doesn't know where to begin, suffice it to say the constant variation of rolling hillsides, steep switchbacks, deep descents on wide rocky tracks, and roller coaster rides through aspen and pine forest makes this the consummate mountain bike trail.


trail img 2 From the west corner of the parking lot you stay left on the trail as it parallels the highway for 1.5 km's or so before creeping up into the forest for some abrupt climbing. At the bottom of a rocky descent is the Loop's intersection where you turn right and resume the tricky and at times relentless uphill struggle. This may seem daunting to the uninitiated, but relief comes with just enough fluctuation in terrain to keep you eagerly aniticipating what lies ahead. After 6 km's or so you cross Moose Mtn Road and ride up a steep slope, spilling out on to a hilltop that provides a generous view of Prairie Mtn and the outlying Ridges of Powderface and Forgetmenot. From here the trail is an exhilarating zig zag down the hillside with sharp turns and the added obstacle of grazing cattle, where at the bottom you take the junction left so as not to end up on the highway.


trail image 1 The trade-off between gruelling uphill and challenging descents continues, taking you back across Moose Mtn road and up to another hillside vantage point before the final round of intriguing downhill ensues. There's a couple more climbs at the end just to reel you in from having too much fun, and once you roll into the finish you'll contemplate swearing off cheeseburgers for good. This trail is the full meal deal (oops, no pun intended!), striking a perfect balance between the demands of skill and endurance, but this can be just the beginning if you're truly ambitious. Besides Ridley's annual Summer Solstice you can also take part in Bowness Nationals' "Bow80", an 80km race around Moose Mountain that starts and finishes at Station Flats. The course includes Sulphur Springs Trail, Powderface Creek Trail, Prairie Link Trail, Prairie Creek Trail, Powderface Road, Jumpingpound Ridge, Cox Hill, and Tom Snow trail. Visit either Bow Cycle's website or www.Bow80.com for more information.